Altnagelvin Hospital Clinical Decision Unit – O’Neill

Date published: 18 January 2017

Health Minister Michelle O’Neill today visited Altnagelvin Hospital to see at first-hand how the establishment of a Clinical Decision Unit (CDU) is contributing to a better patient experience for those in need of urgent care.

Health Minister visits Altnagelvin CDU

The Minister toured the CDU to see some of the alternatives the staff have developed to reduce pressures in the Emergency Department (ED) and improve patient flow. 

The Minister said: “This is an excellent additional facility and one that the staff within Altnagelvin Hospital can be rightly proud of as they work exceptionally hard to increase the safe flow of patients across the system.

“The ED in Altnagelvin Hospital has seen a 15% increase in attendances compared to the same period last year, many of these are frail elderly patients. This means more people being admitted to hospital resulting in further pressure on the hospital and community system. 

“This Unit will ensure that there is a clinically safe environment for those patients who may requiring a short period of observation, further investigations or other interventions that cannot be completed within the four hour timeframe within the Emergency Department.”

The Minister continued: “Everyone who has a role in the healthcare delivery process has an important contribution to make in bringing about and influencing change.  Often the very best innovation comes from the ground up. From the doctors, nurses and other colleagues working on the frontline, and I want them to have the opportunity to drive change.” 

"I want to see a health and social care sector which is accepting of the need for transformation, a willingness to entertain new ideas and to accept change. This is necessary to achieving a genuinely world class health and social care service for the people of the north of Ireland.”

Geraldine McKay, Western Trust Director of Acute Hospitals said: “We are delighted to welcome Health Minister Michelle O’Neill to the Clinical Decision Unit in Altnagelvin Hospital today. This unit is designed to facilitate low acuity patients and to provide a clinically safe environment for those patients requiring a short period of observation. It enhances our ability to focus emergency care in our Emergency Department to those patients who are acutely unwell and alleviate ED pressures.”

Notes to editors: 

For media enquiries please contact the Department of Health Press Office on 028 9052 0575, or email: For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt

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